Posts Tagged ‘Self-Worth’


Challenging the status quo continues over this long discussion. Tradition presents it as one continuous thread over three chapters in Matthew (or many verses in Luke). Quite possibly, many teaching moments condensed to give a form of living to a new community emerging. Stripping away the traipsing of false religiosity and the seeking of Imperial Power. Shredding the idea of “other” from community, to create a space for the family that is humanity, regardless of label. Knowing that each would bring their gifts, and each would need their own interdependent aids to thrive. Together it would move forward.

1“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

6“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

-Matthew 7:1-6 (New King James Version, NKJV).

Judgment. We view it today as being critical. But it was more insidious than that. This teaching was about deflection of one’s own trials by creating a destructive burden upon another. Deflecting harm form self, by setting up a scapegoat (literal practice of the sacrificial system). It is Jesus calling us to be introspective of our own life, to know that when we work into accountability (civil, criminally, communally, personally) it comes from a space of LOVE not fear/hate.

For we are knowing who we are, and standing strong in our own confidence. We are seeing the other person as the holy that resonates. We use justice, not as a system of revenge, but of restoration (sawbonna).

It is truly shattering the idea of fear of other, fear of not being worthy. Knowing we are worthy. Knowing we are in this together. Knowing our actions cause ripple effects that can harm or heal within the moment, and beyond.

7“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! 12 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

-Matthew 7:7-12 (NKJV)

What was the law? A burdensome system? Know and No. It was a system to lay our cause and effect. Brought in during a society’s pre-adolescence phase, now entering older adolescence/young adulthood the literalism moves to being ingrained as an ethical compass. The Prophets were not about the future, but about pointing to ethical quandaries and the choices that were laid forth. From those choices, the effects were then laid out. And the society chose, and lived the effect.

What happens when we look beyond black and white. Live into the grey of a situation. Resonate with where our internal compass guides us (that moment on oneness with the Holy). Fully knowing cause and effect, and claim our course.

“If I were to set the compass of my heart toward a North Star for this life,what would it be?”

-Jack Kornfield

Too often we spend time chasing that which does not matter. Prestige, power, false ego or we live out of hate and fear that we may “loose out”. Yet what is lost, if we do not set the compass of our passion?

You.

Live into the gifts Brother Jesus is illuminating what will come into your life, yes there will be struggles. But what happens when we shatter the labels. When we remove, “other” and replace it with “neighbour”. What happens when we accept checking into gratitude of our journey? The gifts of faith, peace, hope, joy and Love?

13“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

-Matthew 5:13-14 (NKJV)

“Discover your passion,

Find a way to make a living at it.”

-My Dad.

 

We forget the journey of life to our core is a labyrinth. Winding and turning, but one path to the centre. When we go off the path, or let the fog of EGO edge out our true essence, it can appear it is a maze (many false stops and starts), but those are the blocks of our own creation. Keep true to the journey of the labyrinth that brings you back to your passion. It may change as the journey changes you, but growing from your passion will…well as cliched as it is:

15“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

-Matthew 7:15-20 (NKJV)

You need the write material to grow the right fruit.

When you live out of your true passion, your narrow path, your fruit will grow and be shared true. Your life will be a beacon of who you truly are.

What does your fruit say about the path you are on?

 21“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you;  depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

-Matthew 7:21-23 (NKJV)

It is easy to live a false life in the maze. But in the end, are you belonging in community? Or isolated with your EGO toys?

24“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

26“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

-Matthew 7:24-27 (NKJV)

Sit with these four short verses. Read/hear them three times.

  • Reading/hearing One: What emotions rise up for where you are in the journey now? Rest in those emotions. Scribble them out in colours.
  • Reading/hearing Two: Draw the house the emotions lead you too. Which one is it? Is it completely one? Rest within that house, and the creaking.
  • Reading/hearing Three: The hardest moment. What maintains your house where you are? Or begins to shift to the house you want?

Rest in the moment of the art.

Rest in the moment, savour where you have been. Honour the house that has been built. Thank the house you live in.

            What is one simple act of kindness you can do today to move towards the house you want?

 

28 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

-Matthew 7:28-29 (NKJV)

 

 

 

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The hardest part of any change within is being present during it. For good or ill, the journey always has more points of discovery than when the destination is finally reached. But also in the journey one needs to realize when they have reached a point of a new journey beginning. Jesus opened up about the internal transformation, and how the ripples would affect the community.

13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15 No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

-Matthew 5:13-16 (NRSV)

Salt? What a complex thing to be compared to as a change agent. Complex how you say? It is about being a flavouring in the world. It speaks of salt of the earth. Creation. Being in the here and now. Salt has been used in at least 3 ways:

  • Preserve for meats (protein, needed sustenance)
  • To bring flavour out of foods.
  • Agent of destruction. Yes, you read that right. When an invading army had completed the burning down, proving their “god” was more powerful. The men all killed, children enslaved, women raped to eliminate the last vestiges of the previous people. Crops burned. Then the ground was salted so nothing could grow.

What does this mean to your own journey of self transfiguration? What are pieces of you that need to be preserved? Other pieces that need some flavouring (care and cultivation)? And pieces that just need that destruction (wiped out/healed of/moved on from)? The salt metaphor is for your journey, it is about you and the salt that is to be lived into. Then taken out into your community in love of neighbour. Personal transfiguration to communal transformation.

Are you feeling salty today?

The three-fold use of salt removes the muck that hides your true self. Transfigured and continuing to transform your light begins to shine. People notice, wonder why the change. Will you share what it feels like to take self-care seriously? To embrace your true worth? To stop listening to the exterior that has become interior monologue? Do not accept abuse. You are worthy. You are salty and that will continue to transform the good, and destroy the…well destructive crops planted long ago and today to stop you from being you.

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter,[c] not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore, whoever breaks[d] one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

-Matthew 5:17-20

crossanIt is rather simple. We tried for centuries, millennia even (up to this point in history how long had Homo Sapiens walked the earth?). All the ancient stories had pointed to this self-worth, love of neighbour by embracing the whole self (spiritual and physical). Not living in hate or our of fear, but in a more offensive four letter word:

L-O-V-E.

We used all the teachings to create a caste system of oppression, hatred and violence that is still perpetuated today.

That is the system being smashed. The Love thread is what is to be fulfilled.

The question is:

What will you do to let your saltiness shine outwards in Love?

 


As we move through the Ancient Teaching, Modern Learning series it is quite easy to just look at the teachings and action items as an out there. An attempt to change our broader society and community. This is true, but it is only one part of the learning that must always be kept at the forefront. There is also the interior change. These teachings were challenging societal norms that did harm, and left communities and individuals in intergenerational trauma, only put value on a person for what they could amass as wealth, and anything seen as less than “perfect” as something to be expunged. It was these norms that fed the eugenics movement that would emerge out of what was meant as good with the Social Gospel movement, for it still created category of other.

This is not right. In the global world we must surrender the concept of other.

In our own interior castle though we must surrender other. That is the other rooms we refuse to enter: the dark basement, the attic, perhaps the wing that has been sealed off. Where must the light shine through? Where must we honour the blessings that challenge the norm? Where we hold in tension in change, and see what is true and right to move forward?

These were the unknowns when Jesus started travelling and teaching. He was nothing more than a general labourer from a small village, rumoured at the least to be  a bastard son, at worst half-Roman (due to the concept women were nothing more than receptacles and all non-Empire citizens were property, meant Mary could’ve been with child due to rape). Someone that was not meant to be seen as a messiah, or be as learned as a wisdom teacher.

Yet here was one in communion with the Holy Mystery. Open like many who do not fit the typical mold we state for “humanity”, that was able to speak and live outwards. One who was able (as many are) to recognize, neighbour, in not just those who were the same, but those who were blessedly different in the rainbow. It was this Hodge podge rabble that had begun to collect. Where men, women and children were called as persons. Many meals were shared, money and goods were shared from whomever made it, and whatever role needed to be filled was not fully defined by the gender (note the many times the women take the lead throughout Gospel stories? Including in going to the tomb?). It was here that they had traveled, and come to a Mount.

A mount where the Decalogue (10 Commandments) had been brought down by Moses to those escaping another unjust society, seeking a just society, but had interior work to do as well. Now Jesus, sat, ate, talked, laughed, I would say with kids around probably played. Let’s be honest his followers had families or not, there is a high probability Jesus had a wife and kids to at some point. This was a family picnic and a chance to begin to unpack what it meant to live in the Love Covenant. And Jesus opens up with what are seen as blessings (Beatitudes):

When Jesus[a] saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely[b] on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

-Matthew 5:1-12 (New Revised Standard Version)

Who are the poor in spirit? And why is the Kingdom theirs? The Kingdom is not the next life, it is the world created here and now where everyone belongs. Who were the poor in spirit? The ones the religious stated were not holy—the disabled, the sick, the poor, the single parents, the widows, the orphans (any oppressed group)—basically the victims of a world that wanted the non “pure” wiped away. Sounding familiar? What soundtrack is playing in the poor in spirit’s mind if everyone around them is telling them hate? What happens when the action is turned, a community welcomes? We ponder how to extremism, gangs, addictions (the list can go on)…and it comes from a place of being welcomed, loved and accepted. Something society has always resisted as we resonate on the “other”. Living in fear not hope. Living in hate, not love. For to accept the other as a whole person, then in our own mind means we have to accept that there is diversity in creation and it is okay. Belonging is not about being homogenous, it is a heterogeneous mixture of all peoples, where belonging happens due to the complexity that brings into community.

Who are those who mourn? The ones that society says do not deserve comfort. It may be the citizens caught in a bombing run. A Doctor’s without Borders targeted hospital. It may be a criminal. Or it may be a child with disabilities that the education system says their staff and friends do not deserve the mourning journey because “that’s life”. It can be rationalized on so many levels, but being able to rationalize does not make it right. Those who mourn will be comforted…because all who have suffered loss, change, transition, death…deserve the embrace of compassion and equity of care. Your tears, as the tears of others, have value and should be honoured in your personhood.

Who are the meek? They are not the zealots, or the activists or the wealthy or those who are seen as the powers that be. They are the ones that keep plugging along, in survival mode, or just making ends meet. Those that we have stripped voice from because they have not “earned” the “right” to speak. These are the meek. They are not weak, or without intellect or without skill. They are the ones that are the untouchable, the poverty class, the working class… the ones the world ignores for it is not flashy what they do. Yet when their voice is heard change happens. Just look at any human rights movement—those are the meek.

WTF with Righteousness? We live in a world of the self-righteous build the wealth using religion as the opiates of the masses. Who twist religion and ideology in such a ways to create their own fiefdoms at the cost of the other (neighbour) and sometimes destroying their own interior castle if they succumb. The hunger and thirst, is the base desire of knowing something better is possible and needs to happen. That is the drive that allows the others. Remember there is many ways to build poetry and rhythms. Could the Beatitudes be that in seeing as those actions of loving self as you love neighbour, tying into this literary concept of righteousness that takes us into the next blessings.

The merciful? The reciprocity of actions being returned upon you. Not necessarily from the one you showed mercy too, but being able to ease the burden of your own guilt for not helping (the bystander effect) but also in a time of need there is always that synchronicity when help comes. Whether we are aware of it or not. This is a moment of discovery to become aware of gratitude. To know when there is good that comes into your life, no matter how inconsequential some may say it is. This part of the laws of creation.

Pure in heart? This is not some nursery rhyme or fairy tale concept. It is the idea of pureness of one’s own heart. What is still allegorically believed today to be the source of mercy, compassion, kindness, empathy and love (to name but a few). The pureness and ability to see God is simple. If we live our lives with our highest good and those of others (one simple act of kindness at a time) even in the darkest most stumbling moments you will know the cosmic dust that formed you. The energy that binds you to creation and creation into you. You will know the depth of L-O-V-E (the greatest gift) in your darkest time, and that light will shine through and confound the darkness.

Who wants to be a peacemaker? As then, so today, the mediator, the peacemaker, is the one in the midst of the conflict. Whether it is armed, domestic, civil/tort, or within self. You are in the middle holding the factions at bay. Using whatever means necessary from restraint to powerful questions to get to the core of what resonates for all sides to move forward. This is how healthy change happens. In the moment of conflict when one (or many) assesses what of the old needs to pass away, what of the new needs to be accepted, and how to bring the pieces together within the new reality. In “U theory” it is the prototyping phase of change. Trying out new concepts to see what works, but also have the prototypes implode/explode. This is in the outward world, but also inwardly when you journey.

It wraps up speaking about rejoicing in being persecuted. WTH? Jesus is reminding those gathered that a new path is being chosen. A path where the formally “non-person” was going to assert their “personhood”. In this assertion much was to come down upon them, but to know that this is the time to stand proud in who you are, and that this is what was supposed to exist.

The beatitudes like the concept of the Greatest Commandments, have been the basis of many “theology of the margins”, and this includes many monastic movements and the Social Gospel. Sadly, there is much darkness within those movements that also needs to be expunged for it took these pieces to create another concept of “worthy poor” and eugenics that too must be dismantled.

Within that dismantling though is the interior calling of these words for each of us. Where we are here to get the external home in order. What are we to do with our interior sanctuary?

Write out who you and others see you as today…then…

What affirmations are you going to take up to re-writer you internal dialogue from commodity to worthy person?

What acts of kindness will you share with your neighbour, but also show yourself?

Will you pick up the habit of simple time of gratitude no matter how mundane others may see what you are grateful for, it still is the good in your life?

Try for 30 days (time to build up new habits)…what is the new writing of who you are say?

Are you blessed?


On this soggy Saturday I took time to re-introduce my kids to the Original Star Trek thanks to Netflix. Yes they quite enjoyed the Trouble with Tribbles, but it is the Mirror Universe story that strikes a chord in this reflection.

For those unfamiliar it is a story of a transporter miscue during an Ion storm that projects Kirk and company into an alternate timeline where the Federation is warlords running an empire akin to a space Nazi-Roman regime. It shows a visual example of the true and shadow selves lived out. For within the Mirror Universe you see the shadow of the true form. How it works brilliantly, is that from either perspective the Shadow exists.

This brings us into the Aquarian Gospel sending out passage in chapter 122:

The Christines spend seven days in prayer. Jesus gives his charge to the twelve and sends them forth on their apostolic ministry, with instructions to meet him in Capernaum.

1. The Christines prayed in silence seven days; then Jesus called the twelve aside and said,
2. Behold, the multitudes have thronged about us everywhere; the people are bewildered; they wander here and there like sheep without a fold.
3. They need a shepherd’s care; they want a loving hand to lead them to the light.
4. The grain is ripe; the harvest is abundant, but the harvesters are few.
5. The time is also ripe, and you must go alone through all the villages and towns of Galilee and teach and heal.
6. And then he breathed upon the twelve and said, Receive the Holy Breath.
7. And then he gave them each the Word of power, and said, By this Omnific Word you shall cast spirits out, shall heal the sick and bring the dead to life again.
8. And you shall go not in the way of the Assyrians, nor Greek; you shall not go into Samaria; go only to your brethren of the scattered tribes.
9. And as you go proclaim, The kingdom of Christ has come.
10. You have abundantly received, and freely you shall give.
11. But you must go in faith; provide yourselves no crutch to lean upon.
12. Give all your gold and silver to the poor; take not two coats, nor extra shoes; just take your wands.
13. You are God’s husbandmen and he will never suffer you to want.
14. In every place you go search out the men of faith; with them abide until you go from hence.
15. You go for me; you act for me. They who receive and welcome you, receive and welcome me;
16. And they who shut their doors against your face, refuse to welcome me.
17. If you are not received in kindness in a town, bear not away an evil thought; do not resist.
18. An evil thought of any kind will do you harm; will dissipate your power.
19. When you are not received with favour, go your way, for there are multitudes of men who want the light.
20. Behold, I send you forth as sheep among a pack of wolves; and you must be as wise as serpents and as harmless as the doves.
21. In all your language be discreet, for Pharisees and scribes will seek a cause for your arrest in what you say.
22. And they will surely find a way by charges false to bring you into court.
23. And judges will declare that you are guilty of some crime, and sentence you to scourgings and to prison cells.
24. But when you come to stand before the judge, be not afraid; be not disturbed about the way to act, the words to speak.
25. The Holy Breath will guide you in that hour, and give the words that you shall speak.
26. Of this be full assured; It is not you who speaks; it is the Holy Breath that gives the words and moves the lips.
27. The gospel that you preach will not bring peace, but it will stir the multitudes to wrath.
28. The carnal man abhors the truth, and he would give his life to crush the tender plant before the harvest time.
29. And this will bring confusion in the homes that were the homes of stagnant peace.
30. And brother will give brother up to death; the father will stand by and see men execute his child; and in the courts the child will testify against the sire, and gladly see its mother put to death.
31. And men will hate you just because you speak the name of Christ.
32. Thrice blessed is the man who shall be faithful in this coming day of wrath!
33. Go now; when you are persecuted in a place, go seek another place.
34. And when you meet a foe too great for you, behold, the son of man is at your door, and he can speak, and all the hosts of heaven will stand in your defence.
35. But do not hold your present life in great esteem.
36. The time will come when men will take my life; you need not hope to be immune, for they will slay you in the name of God.
37. Men call me Beelzebul and they will call you imps.
38. Be not afraid of what men say and do; they have no power over soul; they may abuse and may destroy the body of the flesh; but that is all.
39. They do not know the God who holds the issues of the soul within his hands, who can destroy the soul.
40. The Christ is king to-day, and men must recognise his power.
41. He who loves not the Christ, which is the love of God, before all else, can never gain the prize of spirit consciousness.
42. And they who love their parents or their children more than they love the Christ can never wear the name of Christ.
43. And he who loves his life more than he loves the Christ cannot please God.
44. And he who clings to life shall lose his life, while he who gives his life for Christ will save his life.
45. When Jesus had thus said he sent the twelve away by twos, and bade them meet him in Capernaum.
46. And they went out through all the towns of Galilee and taught and healed in spirit and in power

 

In the Mirror Universe Kirk, Scotty, McCoy and Uhura had to play different roles to survive, learn a new cultural context and understanding. Yet they also sowed seeds of life where they came from. Where things were different, where it was mutual collaboration, not might makes right mentality that caused growth.  Through common ground.

This was antithesis within the Mirror, where barbarity ruled, where advancement was through subterfuge and assassination. Actually, a very good example of the Roman Empire Brother Jesus and his group existed in. These behavioural patterns within the Ancient Roman Empire permeated through to other cultural ruling structures to ensure survival, but also allowing the oppressive classes to thrive.

This was the world the gossiped about bastard born son of the village girl, that the carpenter was suckered into marrying. Not valued or respected in his own community, but out into the Empire lands spreading a gospel of transformation. The very fact it was called a gospel was proving it to be a political statement.

This was the transformation message of compassion, interconnectedness, self-love/healing/worth, and living out of the core of the Cosmic Christ within.

With this message taken out by Brother Jesus’ students— the Mirror Cracked.

And the Empire was challenged.

Much like the seeds sown by our world’s Kirk, the Mirror Universe Spock.  The mirror got a hairline fracture.

So today, as you prayerfully consider how the Christ within is calling you out into your own world to live life. Ask yourself…how will you create that hairline fracture today? In this moment.

How will you crack the mirror?